TRAVERSE CITY — A video shared widely on social media claimed postal workers in Traverse City backdated absentee ballots.
This backdating narrative could not have impacted the local election, according to local elections officials, as ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day cannot be counted by state decree.
“We already counted all the ballots received by 8 p.m. and they’re all secured, so we’re not counting any late ballots. So it doesn’t even matter if they did that, because it’s not going to affect anything,” said Bonnie Scheele, Grand Grand Traverse County Clerk.
The video, released online Nov. 4, depicts a video chat with a person who said employees at the Barlow Post Office were told to collect and separate late-arriving absentee ballots so they could be hand-stamped Nov. 3.
Tracy Wimmer, the secretary of state’s director of media relations, dismissed the video’s claims.
“Postmarks on ballots don’t matter in Michigan because they have to be physically received by 8 p.m. on Election Day,” she said in an email. “Any ballot that someone attempted to turn in yesterday, regardless of the postmark, would be rejected.”
It’s not unusual for late ballots to trickle in days or weeks after the election’s over, Scheele said.
She also batted aside another claim that absentee ballots filled out with markers didn’t count — they do, and any ballots that couldn’t be read by the tabulator machines were duplicated by poll workers with both Republican and Democratic observers watching. Same goes for any ballots where the ink bled through to the other side, she said.